China is a great country with a long history and adorable culture. The rich history, the great culture and the various beautiful sceneries and events have attracted many people from all over the world to visit.
China is a unique destination for those interested in teaching in China while exploring the Chinese traditional celebrations primarily held in the different regions of China.
If you are looking to teach English in China, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with some of the unique holidays and traditions of the country.
While the teaching and living experiences are a little different from western cultures, being aware of certain holidays can help you get the most out of your time and make your transition into a new culture as smooth as possible.
So whether you are thinking about coming to China as a teacher or exploring teaching career options, here are four major holidays that you must know:
- New Year’s Day – January 1, 2022
- Chinese New year – Feb 1, 2022
- Qingming Festival – April 5, 2022
- Labour Day – May 1, 2022
- National Day – October 1, 2022
1. New Year’s Day.
New Year’s Day is a national holiday in mainland China that welcomes the new year with joyous reunions and festive celebrations. This holiday is celebrated for three days from January 1-3 and allows workers to stay off work for three days.
There are various activities that people embrace during this season. For example, for many expats and teachers living in mainland China, New Year’s Day is a significant opportunity to connect with Chinese friends, classmates, co-workers and explore Chinese culture, for example, the cuisine.
2. Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival and is regarded as the most important holiday and festival in China.
Many foreigners view Chinese New Year as a firework show, but it is much more than that. Not only does it kick off celebrations for Lunar New Year, which lasts through to Chinese New Year’s Eve, but it marks one of three major shifts in political power throughout Chinese history and signifies a time of significant change and luck.
This holiday, usually celebrated between January 21 and February 20, depending on lunar calendars, is a time for families to gather and reflect on their past year. It also marks a significant turning point for business—many of which will shut down for more than a week during that period. This year, the Chinese New Year will fall on February 1, 2022
Chinese residents embrace other minor festivals during the Chinese New Year as well. These include Yum Cha (literally drink tea), which involves welcoming guests into your home to drink tea and eat sweets, as well as ancestral worships where families get together and pay their respects to deceased family members.
3. Qingming Festival
The other major holiday that teachers living in China should know about is the Qingming Festival (also known as Tomb Sweeping Day), which will take place on April 3-5, 2022.
It’s a time where families honour their ancestors by visiting their gravesites, but also another excellent opportunity for rest, relaxation and enjoyment of valuable time with your loved ones.
Many traditions are associated with Tomb Sweeping Day, but the most common is visiting graves. It can be challenging for those who have moved away from their hometown to visit every relative’s tomb during the three days.
Regardless of location, though, people always ensure that they visit the gravesite of the relatives in their current region.
One notable experience is how people wear unique clothes on that day and burn incense. Children usually carry peach-flavoured candies in their pockets, which they throw onto the graves of their ancestors after burning paper money as an offering.
A significant part of Tomb Sweeping Day is the family reunion embraced by eating meals and visiting with other family members.
4. Labour Day.
Labour Day is also known as May Day and is a public holiday observed on 1 May. As with many other countries, it serves as a national celebration of workers and their role in society and commemorates workers’ social and economic achievements.
In some cities like Shanghai and Beijing, there is a day off on Labour Day; other cities observe two days off. The government mandates that employees get at least one day off work while students get two days off.
Activities during this holiday can include visiting China’s beautiful sceneries, exploring the rapidly growing technology, and exploring the different cultures in China. As a teacher, this is a great time to explore most things beyond teaching.
5. National Day
The Nation Day is also known as the Golden Week and is celebrated for seven days between October 1-7. This is a great opportunity to explore China. Teachers have a good seven days to be off work. The activities performed during this holiday include;
- Flag decorations
- Flower decorations
- Military review and parade in Beijing
- The flag raising ceremony
Most teachers use this chance to travel and explore sceneries, try different cuisines, and enjoy Chinese culture.
China has many holidays throughout the year, but not all of them are celebrated in the same way. If you’re teaching in China and want to understand what’s going on it would be best to note the above holidays as they will be a great opportunity to explore the beauty of China.
Take note, though, that not all of these holidays will be applicable to every region, so make sure you learn about your specific city’s celebrations to take full advantage of the off days.